Little Fur Ball

img_2927This is the second time that I painted this little cutie. My goal here was to focus on getting the subtle light changes and shape right. I love the little spot of light on her back that allows the nose to come forward. These types of lighting really capture my attention. It can be a challenge to get the value just right so that it will do what you want but it is worth the effort of practicing. I love the softness and variety of color in this too. I was interested in creating roundness with the contrast of cool and warm colors. It was good practice.

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Ellie-study in light

img_2923┬áThis is another shaggy dog portrait. ┬áThe first time that I attempted to paint one of these shaggy dogs I was perplexed at just how to go about it. It seems that as I have gotten more experience, I am beginning to see all the wonderful colors of light cast upon the individual hairs as well as beginning to better understand how light works as it falls on its subject. One thing I am learning is that no matter how many times you paint a picture, it will come out a bit different each time. It’s pretty interesting to consider this.

Walk to Mendenhall

IMG_0805Another morning walk to Mendenhall Glacier. It is beautiful no matter what the weather. On this morning the fog was just clearing. I liked the warm reds on the peaks contrasted with the deep purple in the shadow from another mountain. And of course the little bits of left over fog are always interesting. This is a 5×7 oil on canvas…mostly meant to be a study of the light effects.

Sky Practice

Sky PracticeThis is a 5×7 oil painting of a point outside Juneau, AK. When I took this photo, I just loved how the blue reflection on the shady parts of the rock seemed so blue and complemented to bright, vivid green of the grassy knoll. But when I started this picture I was really intending to practice my skies. I have trouble keeping them light enough, and I’d like to be able to get better blues into them. So on this one I was trying to use some Cerulean Blue…I usually use Pthalo. I used both here, starting with Cerulean near the mountain peaks and gradually going to Pthalo as the sky got higher. this is not how my photo looked, but I was happy with it. After the sky was done I figured I’d just add the rest…and here it is. I think I will try to do some quick practice though of mainly skies. Because I started with the sky I ended up running out of the proper proportion of water at the bottom. I think this would be much more pleasing to the eye if it had a couple more inches of water, but there’s always next time.

Mendenhall Loop Road II

IMG_0806This is the valley in Juneau where I live. It is the main road that goes to the glacier. In the summertime there is a constant stream of tour buses that run from the cruise ships downtown out to the Mendenhall Glacier. This is the road they take. On a clear day, when you get to this point it can be so beautiful that it makes your heart leap! Tourists must have their jaws drop as they approach. It is about 4 miles from this point but you cannot wait to get there to see it when you are given this glimpse beforehand. I have also painted this a couple times trying to get the values just right. The mountain is difficult to get just right. It seems darker than you have to paint it in order to put it into the distance. I’m learning ( =

Dune Grasses

Dune GrassesThis is an 8×10 oil painting done from a photo I took down in Cohassette, MA while visiting my parents. On this particular day it was misty and overcast. I wanted to try painting this because of those weather conditions. It is very different to paint bright sunny day as opposed to a gray overcast day. It takes practice to see things in different light. I think that this is why I like to paint. I like the challenge of portraying the certain feeling a scene takes on in different lighting conditions. I really spend a lot of time observing the changes in light and shadow as well as colors under different conditions. It is really amazing to me.

Douglas Harbor

IMG_9479I have been wanting to do this for a while. I liked it because I tried something new and used a gray-blue toned canvas, to help with the gray mood of this day. Juneau is very rainy, so this mood is very typical. Something about that, as well as the conglomeration of buildings and objects made me want to paint this scene. I am definitely drawn more to a strong, sunny scene, but I would like to be able to capture different types of weather and light conditions.

One More Underpainting

Into the woods (3)IMG_7703

This will be my final example for now of how useful a more detailed Underpainting can be. This is another wooded scene where my trees could easily have all gotten lost or run together as I went along. By having my Underpainting sort of map out my values, it was much easier to keep track of where my trees were separated. This also was helpful for me to see whrere it was important to perhaps place a darker tree next to a lighter one in order to distinguish it or make it more focal. It really is nice to be able to play around with your composition and value at this point before you have invested too much time. For me, it is invaluable when the painting has much detail.

Another Underpainting Example

z left overs (89)z left overs (90)

I thought I would show another example of an Underpainting, because when I first started painting I couldn’t get enough information about the different ways that people choose to paint. I enjoy seeing how other people paint…it gives me ideas and may lead to better things. It’s good for us to know that there is not just one way to do things. Rather there are a vast number of ways to do the same thing! I think this is very helpful to know. Actually, I think this little painting is the very first time that I tried doing an Underpainting. You can see just how much detail I included in the early stages.

I’m sure this may be old news to many people, but I can remember how fascinated that I was with it early on. So I wanted to do a few posts to show any beginners how they might try it.